Piano | Duration c. 7'30"
Hewitt Hill Music
The story of 19 is nearly as old as my life as a composer. It first came into being when I was sixteen, and over a period of three years I revisited the piece often, toying with the idea of orchestrating the music for various ensembles. At one point, it was a piece for symphonic wind ensemble, at another, a work for string orchestra. Eventually, after a failed attempt at turning it into a piano concerto, I realized that 19 was simply best suited as a work for solo piano. I was nineteen at the time – primed to begin my studies in music theory and composition at Westminster Choir College – so I slapped my age on a poorly designed score, thinking the work was finally complete.
In the time that has passed since I completed the first edition of 19, I can honestly say that the piece has never been played the same way twice. The work travelled with me around the United States and Europe, evolving slowly over eight years of performances in living rooms, churches, and concert halls. Over time, the first edition became increasingly outdated, as the piece existed entirely in my memory and changed constantly. Nearing the end of my PhD in music composition at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, I decided the time was ripe to update the work and re-approach the physical score. 19 had undergone such a vibrant period of flux that the idea of notating the work was a daunting one. Nevertheless, in the summer of 2017 I finally arrived at this second edition – the closest estimation that I can make of the piece as it stands today.
The fact remains that 19 is by nature a work that is in a state of perpetual change. Because of this, the second edition should be considered a scaffolding rather than an exact representation of a concrete piece of music. While I have done my best to communicate the underlying harmony and meter of the work, the performer should feel free to take liberties with tempi, phrasing, articulation and dynamics in whatever way they see fit. In this way, a person who chooses to perform 19 is in fact engaging in the amorphous nature of the work itself.
It is entirely possible that 19 will continue to change in the years to come. There may even come a time when I find it necessary to release a third edition, though I don’t know what form that may take. Regardless of how the work progresses in time, I feel this score is a time capsule of sorts; a musical representation of an impetuous nineteen-year-old composer and his development through eight years of education and experience.
The second edition of 19 is dedicated to Chris Canchola on his 29th birthday, June 23rd, 2017. Chris has been a good friend and avid supporter of my music since before I began composing in earnest. He has shared 19 far and wide over the years, and so I feel it is only fitting that this edition should be dedicated to him.